University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk




Trauma, Memory and Sovereign Power


Jenny Edkins

University of Wales Aberystwyth, SY23 3DA, UK

j.edkins@aber.ac.uk


Paper to be presented at the panel ‘Mediating Internationals’ at the International Studies Association 42nd Annual Convention, Chicago University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk, Illinois, 20-24 February 2001


Work in progress: Do not cite

The essence of the trauma is precisely that it is too horrible to be remembered, to be integrated into our symbolic universe. All we have University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk to do is to mark repeatedly the trauma as such.

—Slavoj Zizek1


Trauma’s remains

In the aftermath of a war comes the reckoning. The dead and the missing are listed, families University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk grieve and comfort each other, and memorials are erected. If the war has been won, commemoration endorses those in power, or so it seems at first glance. Victory parades, remembrance ceremonies and war University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk museums tell of glory, courage and sacrifice. The nation is renewed, the state strengthened. Private grief is overlaid by national mourning and blunted—or eased—by stories of service and duty. The authorities who University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk had the power to conscript citizens and send them to their deaths now write their obituaries.

But returning combatants tell a different tale. Survivors are subdued, even silent. Many witnessed the deaths University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk of those around them. They cannot forget, and some are haunted by nightmares and flashbacks to scenes of unimaginable horror. In their dreams they re-live their battlefield experiences and awake University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk again in a sweat. First world war veterans were said to be suffering from shell-shock. By the end of that war, 80,000 cases of shell shock had been treated in units University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk of the Royal Army Medical Corps and 30,000 evacuated for treatment in Britain. Some 200,000 veterans received pensions for nervous disorders after the war.2 This epidemic led to a reconsideration of psychoanalytic theory, then University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk based on the notion of dreams as the fulfilment of unconscious wishes. Much contemporary work that seeks to understand what is now called trauma stems from this period and from an attempt University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk to understand why traumatic events are re-lived time and time again by survivors.

By the second world war it was no longer only service personnel (not themselves necessarily volunteers) who were University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk intimately affected by state-organised violence. Aerial bombing campaigns drew civilian populations into the conflict. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 was horrific and overwhelming in its brutality. And the genocidal University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk policies of the Nazi regime in Germany led to the deaths of millions in concentration camps, open-air shootings and ghettos.

In the aftermath of genocide, when a state has turned on University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk people who considered themselves its citizens, the dead have no names and no burial place because their families are killed too. Memorialisation is difficult if not impossible. It can be many years University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk before memory surfaces in the public arena or indeed before there is a willingness to listen to survivors’ testimony. States are implicated more thoroughly than in the case of war, both the state University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk in which the genocide occurred and those that stood by while it happened. Nevertheless, eventually, after a lapse of time or a change in the political landscape, a narrative takes shape. Events University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk are named, memorials and museums set up, and the identity of at least some of the victims established.

Following the Nazi genocide of the 1940s, many of the survivors emerged with a University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk compelling impulse to bear witness and an overwhelming conviction of the importance of doing so. They were largely ignored. It was not until much later that what became known as ‘the holocaust University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk’ grew into a topic of fascination. But whereas traumatic stress as a result of combat is thought far fetched by some, the status of holocaust survivor has generally had a University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk special aura.3 What survivors have witnessed has long been recognised as ‘unimaginable’ and ‘unspeakable’, although these epithets have often served as an excuse for neither imagining it nor speaking about it. The holocaust University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk has been a largely proprietary event: it was “narrated by Jews and non-Jews alike as a collective (and sole) property of the Jews, as something to be left to, or University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk jealously guarded by, those who escaped the shooting and the gassing, and by the descendants of the shot and gassed.”4 It belongs to the Jews (or to the Jewish state) and others feel disbarred University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk from talking about it.

Work by feminists in the 1970s argued that the symptoms of victims of rape and incest were similar to those of combat survivors. After a lengthy University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk campaign which included Vietnam veterans, the term ‘post-traumatic stress’ was finally written into the American Psychiatric Association’s manual in 1980.5 Childhood abuse and trauma, although still controversial, became something that could be discussed University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk, first in women’s groups and later more widely. Sigmund Freud’s work in Vienna in the 1890s had led him to conclude that symptoms of what was then called hysteria University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk in his women patients could be traced back to childhood abuse. He published his findings and conclusions in 1896 in a paper entitled “The Aetiology of Hysteria,” where he put forward University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk the view that “at the bottom of every case of hysteria there are one or more occurrences of premature sexual experience. . . . I believe this is an important finding.”6 But he did not University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk pursue this line; it was unacceptable to him and to his contemporaries.7 He argued instead that women were in some sense responsible for their own abuse. He replaced his original analysis of University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk hysteria (the seduction theory) with theories of infantile sexuality and the Oedipus complex. Ironically, it was only during his work with shell-shock after the first world war that Freud returned to the University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk study of what we now call psychic trauma. Of course, in the case of childhood abuse and rape as with shell-shock and earlier with hysteria, the people concerned were regularly University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk regarded as having either caused their traumatic experiences—by their own behaviour, or as a fulfilment of their unconscious wishes— or imagined something that had not actually occurred. Women were accused of University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk having wanted to be raped, soldiers of faking their illness in a cowardly attempt to avoid fighting, and children’s reports were seen as exaggerated and unbelievable.


^ Trauma, violence and community

Events that University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk give rise to what we categorise today as symptoms of trauma generally involve force and violence. Often this is a threat to those people involved, their lives and integrity, as in rape, torture or child University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk abuse; sometimes it also involves witnessing the horrific deaths of others, for example in war time combat or in concentration camps. The victim of trauma feels they were helpless University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk in their enforced encounter with death, violence and brutality. This is not always the case. For example, on the whole Vietnam veterans were not in situations where they were trapped in the same University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk way as first world war soldiers in the trenches or concentration camp victims. In most cases, they were perpetrators of violence rather victims.8 But it seems that to be called traumatic—to produce University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk what are seen as symptoms of trauma—an event has to be more than just a situation of utter powerlessness. In an important sense, it has to entail something more. It has to University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk involve a betrayal of trust as well. There is an extreme menace, but what is special is where the threat of violence comes from. What we call trauma takes place when University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk the very powers that we are convinced will protect us and give us security become our tormentors: when the community of which we considered ourselves members turns against us or when University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk our family is no longer a source of refuge but a site of danger.

This can be devastating because who we are, or who we think we may be, depends very closely on the University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk social context in which we place and find ourselves. Our existence relies not only on our personal survival as individual beings but in a very profound sense on the continuance of the University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk social order which gives our existence meaning and dignity: family, friends, political community, beliefs. If that order betrays us in some way, we may survive in the sense of continuing University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk to live as physical beings, but the meaning of our existence is changed. Commonplace solutions to do with who and what we are and what life might be provided by culture University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk, religious beliefs, patriotic sentiment or close family relationships are overwhelmed. Any illusion of safety or security is broken. Events seen as traumatic seem to reflect a particular form of intimate bond between University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk personhood and community and, most importantly, they expose the part played by relations of power. For the child, abuse involves betrayal by the person the child should most be able to trust University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk. For the conscript, it is the state that breaks faith and deceives. Both cases involve relations of power.

Witnessing violence done to others and surviving can seem to be as traumatic as University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk suffering brutality oneself. Here a sense of shame is paramount. The survivor feels complicit in the betrayal perpetrated by others. In this sense the survivor of a rape or of incest is ashamed University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk for the protagonist of violence against them as well as for themselves. Taking part in violence oneself can evoke a similar shame—as was the case with Vietnam veterans—though this of University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk course is not at all to be equated with witnessing violence done by others.9 The camp survivor is filled with shame for the deeds done by the guards, and because the inmates University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk were powerless to prevent them. As Primo Levi remembers, “the shame . . . drowned us after the selections, and every time we had to watch or submit to some outrage: the shame . . . that such a crime University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk should exist, that it should be introduced irrevocably into the world of things that exist.”10 The combat veteran has not only seen his comrades killed or mutilated but has himself brutally slaughtered University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk enemy soldiers—and in some cases betrayed his own supposed code as a warrior (or as a person) when he has terrorised and victimised civilians.

Events of the sort we call traumatic University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk are overwhelming but they are also a revelation. They strip away the diverse commonly-accepted meanings by which we lead our lives in our various communities. They reveal the contingency University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk of the social order and in some cases how it conceals its own impossibility. They question our settled assumptions about who we might be as humans and what we might be University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk capable of. Those who survive often feel compelled to bear witness to these discoveries.

On the whole, the rest of us would rather not listen. A frequent excuse is that the horrors University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk survivors testify to are too terrible. They are ‘unimaginable’: we need not listen because we cannot hear. Robert Anthelme, describing the encounter of the American liberators with camp survivors in Germany at the University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk end of the second world war, says that the word ‘unimaginable’ is “the most convenient word. When you walk around with this word as your shield, this word for emptiness, your step becomes better University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk assured, more resolute, your conscience pulls itself together.”11 But in particular those who would try to prevent survivors from speaking out are the powerful, those who have perhaps more University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk of a stake than most in concealing the contingency of forms of social and political organisation. This may include, for example, governments who have sent soldiers into battle, men who benefit from a University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk structure in which women and children are subservient and vulnerable, states who have turned on a section of their own citizens in genocides or deportations. The testimony of survivors can challenge structures University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk of power and authority. Moreover, this challenge can in some regards transcend boundaries of culture and social group.12 It is what Foucault referred to as ‘the solidarity of the shaken’.13

On University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk the other хэнд, do contemporary forms of political community have an ironic connection with the events that we have been discussing? Do political communities such as the modern state survive in part through the scripting University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk of these events as emergencies, or even, indeed, as traumatic? Or even by the production of events that can appear as exceptional, beyond the norm? In modern political communities in the west University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk, our faith in the social order and our search for security is invested in systems that themselves are productive of and produced by force and violence. This point is no surprise University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk to women of course, who have long had to separate their notions of safety from the patriarchal structures in which they live. Battered women would not recognise the picture of the family University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk as a source of protection and stability, for example. The contemporary form of political community, the state, relies for its existence on the assumption that it can compel its citizens to University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk fight (and die) for its sovereignty. It proffers security in return for obedience. As a political unit it is produced and defined by organised violence. States are founded on violence, whether it takes University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk the form of war, revolution or civil conflict. And although once formed a state may appear peaceable enough, internally and externally, physical violence remains a tool that only the state University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk is allowed to use. Attempts by others—vigilante groups, opposition movements, criminal groups—to use violence are seen as unacceptable. In Max Weber’s definition, “the state is that human community which (successfully) lays claim University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk to the monopoly of legitimate physical violence within a certain territory.”14 The right to use violence, in other words, is the prerogative of the state. And it makes use of University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk this prerogative. For example, the modern nation-state works by processes of enforced exclusion, and it can change the definition of who precisely will be excluded at any time. Exclusion does not always entail University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk expulsion: there is also the excluded “enemy within,” a label famously used by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in Britain at the time of the miners’ strike in 1984. The modern state, then University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk, is a contradictory institution: a promise of safety, security and meaning alongside a reality of abuse, control and coercion.

As we saw, some feminists came to the conclusion that relations between the sexes University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk are like a war, with the casualties being rape victims, battered wives and sexually abused children. The parallel between women and war veterans was used in the 1970s and 1980s to University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk draw attention to the plight of women and the widespread exploitation of patriarchal power by men which had, apart from the early work by Freud and Joseph Breuer on hysteria University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk, been neglected.15 If we push the similarities further, taking the insights gained from the study of sexual abuse in families and applying them to other events categorised as traumatic, what do we find University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk? What if, instead of likening family relations to a war, we compare the treatment of populations in wartime with the treatment of women in families? It turns out that we have a parallel exploitation University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk of power in political communities, which we might call political abuse. Political authorities are using their power over their citizens to abuse and torture them or to compel them to take University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk part in abhorrent acts, acts which violate their sense of self-worth and which provoke intense shame, humiliation and anger. According to US Marine veteran Michael Norman, survivors of Vietnam were angry. They University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk were not unlike survivors of previous wars, however. Their anger was not new. It was “old, atavistic. We were angry as all civilised men who have ever been sent to make University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk murder in the name of virtue were angry.”16 States abuse citizens on the battlefield, in captivity, in concentration camps. The modern state cannot be assumed to be a place of safety, any University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk more than the patriarchal family can. Political abuse in one parallels sexual abuse in the other.17 Both give rise to what we call symptoms of trauma.

In both cases what has happened University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk is beyond the possibility of communication. There is no language for it. Abuse by the state, the fatherland, like abuse by the father within the family, cannot be spoken in language, since University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk language comes from and belongs to the family and the community. Survivors of political abuse in the contemporary west have something compelling to say, but it is something which is University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk unsayable in the vocabulary of the powerful, and it is dangerous to the political institutions in place. The use of the term ‘unspeakable’ in relation to trauma is not only an excuse to avoid University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk the need to listen to what is being said. It reflects the view of survivors that what they have been through cannot be communicated. Communication takes place in language and language itself is University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk social and political, not individual. Relations of power are produced through and reflected in language. Words get their meaning from their place in chains of meaning, through their associations with other University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk words based on sound, metaphor, and layers of usage. Meaning can shift and words can be re-articulated with new associations and new contexts. For language to work at a particular time University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk and in a particular context, it is necessary for there to be a linguistic community which shares or is subject to something that will temporarily fix meanings. There has to University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk be some provisional agreement, accepted ideology or central authority structure that will halt the fluidity of terms and make language meaningful. In psychoanalytic theory it is not just language that works like this University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk. The unconscious mind is structured like a language; in other words, who we think we are is shifting and fluid, until fixed by the social context or the dominant group. But this group University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk does not exist independently of the people of which it is мейд up. We produce this group at the same time as becoming members of it. By assuming a community exists we produce University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk one. By situating ourselves as citizens of a state or political authority or as members of a family, we reproduce that social institution at the same time as assuming our own University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk identity as part of it. As we have seen, in what we call a traumatic event this group betrays us. We can no longer be who we were, and the social University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk context is not what we assumed it to be. It is not all powerful, it does not have all the answers: in fact, its answers are flawed. As Jean Amery puts it University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk: “Every morning when I get up I can read the Auschwitz number on my forearm . . . . Every day anew I lose my trust in the world.”18 The cause of his oppression and restlessness is society University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk: “it and only it robbed me of my trust in the world.”19 As a survivor of catastrophe, he lives in constant fear of its return: “nothing can again lull me into the University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk slumber of security from which I awoke in 1935.”20 It has become plain to a survivor that the appearance of fixity and security produced by the social order is just that: an University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk appearance. Of course the language we speak is part of the social order, and when the order falls apart around our ears, so does the language. What we can say no longer makes University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk sense; what we want to say, we can’t. There are no words for it. This is the dilemma survivors face. The only words they have are the words of University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk the very political community that is the source of their suffering. This is the language of the powerful, the words of the status quo, the words that delimit and define acceptable ways of University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk being human within that community.

What survivors seek is perhaps impossible. They seek a way of resistance. For some, Sarah Kofman for example, this means a way of “writing without power.” Such a University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk writing or speech was forbidden in the concentration camps, “yet also withheld, preserved, protected against all straying, all corruption, against all violent abuse that might have exposed it to the University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk suspicion of playing along with boundless violence, and therefore have discredited it forever.”21 Such a way of speaking implies a form of community that does not entail a circuit of power between University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk oppressors and victims, a community that does not produce forms of subjection where human beings are indistinguishable from what Giorgio Agamben calls “bare life.”22 It is a form of community that is hardly found University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk in the modern western state.

What the state attempts in contrast is a normalisation or medicalisation of survivors; and example is the treatment of Vietnam Veterans in the USA. The aim is University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk recovery, or the reinsertion of survivors into structures of power. Survivors are helped to verbalise and narrate what has happened to them; they receive counselling to help them accommodate once more to University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk the social order and re-form relationships of trust. In the case of the military these days, those suffering from symptoms of traumatic stress are treated swiftly with the aim of being University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk returned to active service within a matter of hours or days.23 If this fails, then the status of victim of post-traumatic stress disorder serves to render the survivor more University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk or less harmless to existing power structures. In contemporary culture victimhood offers sympathy and pity in return for a surrender of any political voice.

The concept of trauma oscillates between victimhood and University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk protest and can be linked with or articulated to either. Its invocation registers a movement in the boundaries of acceptability of the use and abuse of violence in relations of power and forms University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk of authority or political community. When there is a mismatch between expectation and event we have what is experienced as a betrayal—or in other words, as traumatic. This is not a sufficient University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk condition for us to call something ‘trauma’ of course, though we soon get into difficulties if we try to probe further into the matter of scale. We end up University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk asking impossible questions such as “Can one measure trauma? Is there a hierarchy of trauma?”24 Nevertheless, when our expectations of what community is, and what we are, are shown to be misplaced University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk, then our view of ourselves has to be altered—or we have to fight for political change, in other words a reformulation of community.


^ The traumatic dimension of the political

In this context it would be University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk interesting to explore the connections between violence, the effects of trauma that it produces, and forms of political community. Such an exploration would contribute to understandings of the particular University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk way in which power, the social order and the person are constituted in the contemporary west, and would involve a study of practices of trauma, memory and witness. Its фокус would be firmly University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk on western conceptions of personhood and political community in the modern period. It would not be necessary, except in passing, to consider how practices of trauma or memory may have been exported beyond what University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk might be considered the geographical bounds of a western paradigm, nor to discuss, except to point up the specificity of a western approach, how people seemingly located outside that paradigm differ in University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk their practices. Of course these distinctions (west and the rest) are arbitrary and contestable, and themselves both reflect a western tendency to dichotomise and promote western power relations. There University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk are many people located within the contemporary west in geographical or ideological terms who would not adopt what I am regarding as ‘western’ conceptions of self and society.

An examination of extreme situations and University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk events seen as traumatic would reflect Giorgio Agamben’s analysis of contemporary sovereign power as based on a state of emergency or exception.25 The form of power that underlies the modern state University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk and the violence it entails often goes unanalysed in political science or international relations studies. Both political science, in its фокус on the internal (supposedly peaceable) workings of the state University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk, and international politics, with its concern for external conflict and war, seem to ignore the production of the self and the state, which takes place at the traumatic intersection between peace and war, inside and University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk outside.26 The way we see the democratic state rests on not questioning that particular form of political community or the forms of individuality or personhood on which it is University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk based.

The account of statehood in the liberal view is a story of individual citizens banding together to form democratic institutions which (more or less) represent the views of those citizens and University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk which (more or less) have their interests at heart. The state possesses power (and can use violence), in this narrative, because the people legitimise its authority. However, according to a Foucauldian view, power University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk is not centralised but dispersed; it is not something that can be possessed, but a relationship.27 We should speak of relations of power, not of power plain and simple. Because it is a University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk relation, power always exists alongside resistance. How does this play out in the trauma situation? In this case it means that what happens is not straightforward; there is not a perpetrator and a University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk victim with no ambiguity. That in many ways is what is most difficult for the victim. Primo Levi talks of the concentration camp as a “grey zone” where all feel University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk implicated in some way in what happens.28 As far as memory is concerned, how we remember a war, for example, and the way in which we acknowledge and describe what we call trauma University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk can be very much influenced by dominant views, that is, by the state. However, it is not determined by them: their influence, and the state structure itself, can be contested University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk and challenged. Forms of statehood in contemporary society, as forms of political community, are themselves produced and reproduced through social practices, including practices of trauma and memory.

Like the liberal account of the University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk state, the form of personhood that fits alongside it often goes unchallenged too. The sovereign state in the modern world relies on a notion of a separate, autonomous, sovereign individual. But University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk this is an historically specific concept of personhood, one that arose alongside state structures in the early modern era.29 Other accounts question this view, and argue that the person or ‘subject’ does not exist University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk independently of or prior to the social order, but is formed through its interaction with that order. A further position regards both social order and person as inherently incomplete and University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk insecure. According to this account, which derives from psychoanalytic work, in the west both state and subject pretend to a security, a wholeness and a closure that is not possible. From this point of view University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk, an event can be described as traumatic if it reveals this pretence. It is experienced as a betrayal.

In the psychoanalytic account the subject is formed around a lack, and in the University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk face of trauma. We become who we are by finding our place within the social order into which we are born. That social order is produced in symbolic terms, through University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk language. Language does not just name things that are already there, in the world. Language divides up the world in particular ways to produce for every social grouping what it calls University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk ‘reality’. Each language—each symbolic or social order—has its own way of doing this. Crucially, none of these are complete, none of them can find a place for everything. This is a University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk logical limitation, not a question of a symbolic or social order not being sufficiently developed. Completeness or closure is impossible. There is always inevitably something that is missed out, something that cannot be symbolised University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk, and this is one part of what psychoanalytic theory calls ‘the real’. In its birth into the symbolic or social order, into language, the subject is formed around, and through University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk a veiling of, that which cannot be symbolised—the traumatic real. The real is traumatic, and has to be hidden or forgotten, because it is a threat to the imaginary completeness of University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk the subject. The ‘subject’ only exists in as far as the person finds their place within the social or symbolic order. But no place that the person occupies—as a mother, friend, consumer, activist University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk—can fully express what that person is. There is always something more. Again, this is not a question of people not fitting into the roles available for them and University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk a call for more person-friendly societies. Nor does it concern multiple or fragmented identities in a post-modern world. It is a matter of a structural impossibility. If someone is, say, a political activist University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk, there is always the immediate question of whether they are sufficiently involved to count as an activist: don’t activists have to be more committed, to take part in more University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk than just demonstrations, shouldn’t they stand for office? On the other хэнд, are they perhaps more than an activist—does that description do justice to what they are, to their role in University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk the party? There is always an excess, a surplus, in one direction or the other. However, we choose on the whole to ignore this—to forget this impossibility, and to act as if University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk completeness and closure were possible. We hide the traumatic real, and stick with the fantasy of what we call social reality.

As I have argued elsewhere, the political is that which University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk bids us not to forget the traumatic real but rather to acknowledge the constituted and provisional nature of what we call social reality.30 Politics refers to the sphere of activity University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk and institutions that is called ‘politics’ as opposed to ‘economics’ or ‘society’. Politics is part of what we call social reality. It exists within the agendas and frameworks that are already accepted within the University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk social order. The political, in its “properly traumatic dimension,”31 on the other хэнд, concerns the real. It refers to events in which politics of the first sort and its institutions are brought into University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk being. This can be the day-to-day production and reproduction of the social and symbolic order. This continual process has to take place; the social order is not natural, it doesn University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk’t exist unless it is produced, continually. The political also takes place at moments when major upheavals occur that replace a preceding social and legal system and set up a new University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk order in its place. At such points, the symbolism and ideology that concealed the fragile and contingent nature of authority collapses altogether and there is a brief interregnum before the new University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk order imposes a different form of concealment.

The way that time figures in the psychoanalytic account is interesting. A certain non-linearity is evident: time no longer moves unproblematically from past through present University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk to future. In a sense, subjects only retrospectively become what they already are—they only ever will have been. And the social order too shares this retroactive constitution. The subject and the social University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk order in which the subject finds a place are both in a continual process of becoming. Neither exists as a fixed entity in the present moment, as the common University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk sense view in western culture might lead us to expect. Both are always in the process of formation. This is because the two are so intimately related. The person is formed, not through University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk a process of interaction with the social order (since that would mean thinking of the social as already there), but by imagining or supposing that the social order exists. This supposing University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk by the individual is what brings the social into being. We have to imagine that others will respond to us before we speak, but it is only our speaking, of course, that enables them to University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk respond. But supposing that the social exists does not only produce the social order, it also, simultaneously, brings the individual into existence too. When our speaking elicits a response, we recognise ourselves University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk as subjects in that response. This recognition is belated: it is not at the moment we decide to speak that we see who we are, but only a moment later University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk, when we get a response. The response tells us not who we are now, since we are no longer that—we have already changed. It tells us who we were, at University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk the moment when we spoke. This is the sense in which we never are, we only ever will have been. Like the distant stars, whose past we know from the light that has University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk taken millions of years to reach us but whose present we can only guess at, we can only know what we were, not what we are. And even that is also a guess, of University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk course. In a similar way, when we listen to a sentence being spoken, we can predict what is being said, but we cannot be sure we were right until the sentence University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk is completed and over. Some forms of speech—rhetoric and jokes for example—play on that unpredictability.

The uncertainty and unpredictability that this involves can be unsettling. In the rational west University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk, we tend to seek certainty and security above all. We don’t like not knowing. So we pretend that we do. Or that if we don’t we could, given sufficient scientific research effort University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk and enough money. We forget the uncertainties involved, and adopt a view that what we call social reality—which Zizek calls social fantasy—is basically knowable. We adopt an ontology—a University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk view of being and the nature of things— that depends on a progressive linear notion of time. Things can ‘be’ in our modern western sense only in the context of this University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk temporality. They ‘are’ because they have a history in time, but they are at the same time separate from that history.

But central to this solution to doubt is forgetting, as we have seen University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk. The fantasy is only convincing if, once it has been put in place, we can forget that it is a fantasy. What we are forgetting—some would say deliberately—is University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk the real, that which cannot be symbolised, and that which is produced as an excess or surplus by any attempt at symbolisation. We do not remember the trauma that lies at the root of University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk subjectivity, the lack or gap which remains, even within what we call social reality. This position leads to a depoliticisation. We forget that a complete, non-antagonistic society is impossible. We University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk strive for completion and closure, often at any price. There are a number of ways in which this is done, according to Zizek.32 The first is communitarian attempts to produce a close University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk homogeneous society—arche-politics. Political struggle disappears because everyone agrees on everything. The second, most common in the liberal west, Zizek calls para-politics. Here the political is replaced by politics University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk. Standardised competition takes place between accepted political parties according to pre-set rules, the prize being a turn at executive control of the state bureaucracy. Politics has become policing or managerial control. In the University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk third—meta-politics—political conflict is seen as a shadow theatre, with the important events taking place in another scene, that of economic processes. Politics should be cancelled when University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk economic processes have worked themselves out (as scientific materialism predicts) and matters can be decided by rational debate and the collective will. Finally, we have ultra-politics, where political struggle becomes warfare, and the military University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk are called in. There is no common ground for debate and politics is militarised.

If we are to resist such attempts to “gentrify” or depoliticise the political we have to recall University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk the constituted, provisional and historically contingent nature of every social order, of every ontology. This, which Zizek calls “traversing the fantasy,” “tarrying with the negative” or fidelity to the ontological crack in University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk the universe, is an uncomfortable position.33 It involves an acceptance of the lack or trauma at the centre of the subject and the non-existence of any complete, closed social order University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk.

Although we have been talking about an intellectual act of traversing the fantasy, in fact facing trauma, facing the way being is ungrounded and how it relies on a particular, constituted University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk notion of linear temporality is something that in any case takes place. It happens. It takes place in security crises, in wars, revolutions or other social upheavals—where the symbolic order itself University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk and its institutions are under threat or in suspense—and where people as individuals face the horrors of battle, persecution, famine or bombing. It takes place also, as feminists in particular remind us University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk, in the everyday, in the face of threats to personal security.34

Trauma, violence and political community are intimately connected as we find when we look at how traumas such as wars or University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk persecutions are re-inscribed into everyday narratives. This takes place in practices of remembrance, memorialisation and witnessing. All these practices are the site of struggle. For example, the temporality and inexpressibility of trauma University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk makes the role of the witness an almost unbearable one. Despite this, there is an imperative to speak, and a determination to find ways of speaking that remain true to the trauma University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk. The process of re-inscription into linear narratives, whilst arguably necessary from some points of view—to cure traumatic stress, for example—is a process that generally depoliticises, and that there is University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk an alternative, that of encircling the trauma. We cannot try to address the trauma directly without risking its gentrification. We cannot remember it as something that took place in time, because this University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk would neutralise it. All we can do is “to encircle again and again the site” of the trauma, “to mark it in its very impossibility.”35 Memory and forgetting are crucial, both in contesting University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk the depoliticisation that goes under the name of politics, and in keeping open a space for a genuine political challenge by encircling the trauma rather than attempting to gentrify it. The University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk reinstallation of time as linear and the narrating of events as history is central to the process of reinscription. However, there are forms of memory and memorialisation (perhaps more aptly University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk called ‘not forgetting’ rather than remembering) that do not produce a linear narrative, but rather retain another notion of temporality. These are ways of encircling the real.36


^ Practices of trauma

After traumatic events, there is University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk a struggle over memory. Some forms of remembering can be seen as ways of forgetting: ways of recovering from trauma by putting its lessons to one side, refusing to acknowledge that University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk anything has changed, restoring the pretence. In Britain, remembrance practices continue some eighty years after the 1914-1918 war. They involve families as well as veterans themselves. Accounts of the war drawing on University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk veteran’s experiences have been written. An Australian study shows that memories that veterans relate depend on and interact with the public context of their remembering, and this illuminates the nature of memory. Memory University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk is not straightforward, especially in the case of traumatic memory. This is interesting when we consider how post-traumatic stress is produced as a condition that can be diagnosed—and cured. The effect University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk of this in the case of Vietnam veterans is to depoliticise their memories; a form of disciplinary control is instituted. This is an example of how hegemonic power can University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk control and subjugate memory.

In the most part, memorialisation of war is a practice that reproduces stories of national glory and heroism. It produces linear time, the time of the state. But University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk does it always do that? Is this contested? Don’t these accounts have a far too unquestionably consensual view of the political community? There are memorials where at some time at least this University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk narration of the national story did not happen: the cenotaph in Whitehall in London, a memorial to the fallen of the British Empire in the first world war, and the US Vietnam veterans memorial University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk in the Mall in Washington, the Vietnam wall are two examples. In both cases it turns out that the role and form of the memorial was contested, and that the struggle was University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk precisely over the processes of bearing witness to the horror of war, or forgetting it and inscribing a narrative of sacrifice and heroism. In each instance, the function of the memorial has University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk changed through time but both have involved a certain openness to unanswered and unanswerable questions. Both can be described in part at least as encircling the event, marking its University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk place without narrating it as part of a linear story or national myth. Both can also be seen to be later co-opted into the dominant account: they have both come to stand for the University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk status quo. The Vietnam wall has spawned look-alikes, in particular, ironically enough, a monument to law enforcement officers, also in Washington. The cenotaph was daubed with graffiti during anti-capitalist University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk protests, when it was seen as a monument to imperial wars.

Memorials to war, even to defeat, can inscribe the national myth or the imagined community. What happens when what University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk is to be commemorated is a genocide rather than a war? How is an event like this to be embodied in stone? In the instances of the Irish famine, American slavery and the Nazi genocide University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk, there are controversies and debates over how those events should be commemorated or remembered. Here memorials become abstract; some are designed to disappear, or are inverted and buried; others are University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk never built, like the Berlin memorial where nothing has yet been constructed. Fine art and particularly installation work attempts to find other languages of remembrance. The story does get told, for University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk example, in museums, films and at concentration camp sites. Sometimes even the story of a genocide can be incorporated into a national myth, as for example in Israel. In the USA the Irish famine University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk has been read as a heoric tale of sacrifice by those who left Ireland as famine victims and whose descendents “become Americans.” A number of powerful groups attempt to appropriate the University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk Nazi persecutions for their own political or commercial purposes, and the voice of the survivor can be co-opted into one narrative or another. There is a proliferation of holocaust museums University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk, in Washington, London and New York, all of which opened in the 1990s. Despite attempts by scholars to question what representations were appropriate, it came to be accepted that there was one narrative University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk history of the holocaust and that it had to be told. There are fierce debates over the so-called holocaust industry, and the ownership of ‘the holocaust’. It is possible that confronting holocaust University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk deniers such as David Irving serves to confine our engagement to questions of historical fact, enabling us to avoid dealing with the more difficult issues raised by survivors. A recent film University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk account of the Dachau camp museum and its self-appointed guide, Martin Zeidenstadt, illustrates my argument that to require irrefutable proof of testimony is to fail to hear what is being said.

If memorials University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk on the whole (not always of course) support the imaginary community and reproduce the status quo, testimony is generally expected to function as a criticism of state power and University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk its abuse. The structure of testimony and the question of survival has been analysed in philosophy, in psychoanalysis and in film. The imperative to bear witness encounters two problems. First the survivor is University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk not in a position to bear witness: by definition, he or she has not suffered the extremities that others, those who did not survive (those Primo Levi calls ‘the drowned’) suffered. Second University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk, there is no language in which to express what the survivor wishes to say. The testimony is a witnessing of the void or the impossibility of closure and listening to testimony has University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk to take the form of listening to something which is not there. The testimony of survivors of the concentration camps is paradigmatic here, and is found in various forms: video testimonies, literature, and University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk second generation accounts. In museums and sites of memory visitors are called upon to become third party witnesses.

Contemporary culture has been described as a testimonial culture, as well as a culture University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk of victimhood, with the proliferation of programmes such as the Jerry Springer show. There is a rush to collect testimony of war crimes almost while a conflict is taking place. It University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk sometimes seems that we watch ourselves standing by while atrocities are committed—as in Kosovo, for example—safe in the knowledge that there is a war crimes tribunal in place that will avenge University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk the deeds. How much do these forms of testimony—which include truth and reconciliation commissions and oral testimony in the aftermath of third world development projects—how much do they allow University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk the survivor a voice? Do they not rather result either in traumatic events being rendered a spectacle, a monstrosity, or alternatively, in it being legalised and medicalised? Giorgio Agamben’s argument is that University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk sovereign power (the modern state form) operates by the production of ‘bare life’, as exemplified in the concentration camps but found in another form in other instances of modern life. In the case University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk of the Kosovo intervention in the 1990s, the production of trauma was part of the production of sovereign power, in this case not state power, but the sovereign power of a University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk supra-national body, Nato.

Sites of memory and landscapes of political power are not confined to individual war memorials and cemeteries but include entire cityscapes such as the Mall in Washington and University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk Tien an Men square in Peking. Here, in a return of the repressed, we find political protest brought directly to the sites of state memory. The protests reclaim memories of trauma and University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk re-write them as a form of resistance. The story is never finished: the scripting of memory by those in power can always be challenged, and such challenges are very often University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk found at moments and in places where the very foundations of the imagined community are laid out. They often take the form of self-consciously non-violent forms of protest. Sometimes the result University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk is violent repression, as in Peking in 1989. Occasionally, instead, there is a moment of possibility: an opening to trauma time and a recognition of the contingency of political community.



1 Slavoj Zizek University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk, ^ For they know not what they do: Enjoyment as a Political Factor, (London: Verso, 1991), 272-273.

2 Martin Stone, “Shellshock and the psychologists,” in The Anatomy of Madness: Essays in the History of Psychiatry, ed. W. F University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk. Bynum, R. Porter, and M. Shepherd (London: Tavistock, 1988), 2: 242-271, quoted in Allan Young, The Harmony of Illusions: Inventing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997), 41-42.

3 In Israel in the 1950s University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk the aura was one of failure: survivors were regarded as “the epitome of the Jew as helpless schlemiel, a counterexample to the new Israeli Jew” (Yaron Ezrahi, ^ Rubber Bullets: Power and Conscience University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk in Modern Israel, (Berkeley: University of California, 1997), 147).

4 Zygmunt Bauman, Modernity and the Holocaust, (Cambridge: Polity, 1989), viii-ix.

5 Judith Lewis Herman. ^ Trauma and Recovery: From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror. (London: Pandora, 1992), 32.

6 Sigmund Freud University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk, “The Aetiology of Hysteria,” quoted in Alice Miller, Thou Shalt Not Be Aware: Society's Betrayal of the Child, trans. Hildegarde and Hunter Hannum, New ed., (London: Pluto Press, 1998), 117.

7 Herman, Trauma University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk and Recovery, 19. Alice Miller discusses this issue and quotes extensively from Freud’s 1896 lecture (Miller, Thou Shalt Not Be Aware, 109-120). I am grateful to Annick Wibben for this reference.

8 Young, Harmony University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk of Illusions, 283.

9 See, for example, Primo Levi, The Drowned and the Saved, trans. Raymond Rosenthal, (London: Abacus, 1989), 2.

10 Primo Levi, If This is A Man and The Truce. Translated by Stuart Woolf, (London University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk: Abacus, 1979), 188.

11 Robert Antelme, The Human Race, p. 289-290, quoted in Sarah Kofman, Smothered Words. Translated by Madeleine Dobie. (Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 1998), 38.

12 Cathy Caruth, Unclaimed Experience: Trauma, Narrative, and History, (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk Press, 1996), 56.

13 Michel Foucault,

14 Max Weber, Weber: Political Writings, trans. Ronald Spiers, ed. Peter Lassman and Ronald Spiers, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 310-311.

15 Sigmund Freud and Joseph Breuer. Studies on Hysteria. Translated University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk by James Strachey and Alix Strachey. The Penguin Freud Library, volume 3. Edited by James Strachey and Alix Strachey. (London: Penguin, 1974); Herman, Trauma and Recovery.

16 Quoted by Judith Herman, Herman, Trauma and Recovery, 27.

17 Of course University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk the notion of ‘abuse’ relies on the possibility of a legitimate, contractual power. Michel Foucault, Power/Knowledge, 92.

18 Jean Amery, At the Mind's Limits: Contemplations by a Survivor on Auschwitz University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk and its Realities. Translated by Sidney Rosenfeld and Stella P. Rosenfeld. (London: Granta, 1999), 94.

19 Amery, At the Mind’s Limits, 100.

20 Amery, At the Mind’s Limits, 95.


21 Kofman, Smothered Words, 41.

22 Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk: Sovereign Power and Bare Life. Translated by Daniel Heller-Roazen. (Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1998).

23 During the Second World War the American Army Medical Corps treated psychiatric casualties with food, rest and reassurance University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk before being returned to their units in a couple of days. Allan Young, ^ The Harmony of Illusions: Inventing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997), 92.

24 Tim Woods, “Mending the skin of memory University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk: Ethics and history in contemporary narratives,” Rethinking History 2, no. 3 (1998): 339-348; 345.

25 Giorgio Agamben, ^ Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life, trans. Daniel Heller-Roazen, (Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1998).

26 R. B. J. Walker, Inside/Outside University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk: International Relations as Political Theory, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993).

27 Foucault, Michel. "Truth and power." In ^ Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings 1972-1977 by Michel Foucault, ed. Colin Gordon. Brighton University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk: Harvester, 1980. For an overview see Barry Hindess, Discourses of Power: from Hobbes to Foucault, (Oxford: Blackwell, 1996).

28 Primo Levi, ^ The Drowned and the Saved, trans. Raymond Rosenthal, (London: Abacus, 1989).

29 R B J Walker, Inside/Outside.


30 Jenny University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk Edkins, Poststructuralism and International Relations: Bringing the Political Back In (Boulder. Colorado: Lynne Rienner, 1999); Jenny Edkins and Véronique Pin-Fat, “The Subject of the Political,” in Sovereignty and Subjectivity, ed. Jenny University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk Edkins, Nalini Persram, and Véronique Pin-Fat (Boulder, Colorado: Lynne Rienner, 1999) 1-19.

31 Slavoj Zizek, ^ The Ticklish Subject: The Absent Centre of Political Ontology, (London: Verso, 1999), 190.

32 Zizek, The Ticklish Subject, 190

33 For the University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk ontological crack, see Zizek, Plague of Fantasies, 214; for tarrying with the negative, Slavoj Zizek, Tarrying with the Negative: Kant, Hegel and the Critique of Ideology, (Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 1993), 237; and for University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk traversing the fantasy, see, for example, Slavoj Zizek, The Sublime Object of Ideology, (London: Verso, 1989), 126.

34 Laura S. Brown, “Not outside the range: one feminist perspective on psychic trauma,” in Trauma: Explorations in University of Wales Aberystwyth, sy23 3DA, uk Memory, ed. Cathy Caruth (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1995), 100-112.

35 Zizek, For They Know not What They Do, 272.

36 Slavoj Zizek, Plague of Fantasies, 213-218.


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